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APRIL 3, 2017

On Video: Experts React to Threat of Ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia

On Video: Experts React to Threat of Ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia

On April 5, 2017, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation is expected to rule on whether to liquidate and ban the activity of all legal entities used by Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout Russia. A ruling against the Witnesses would criminalize their worship. Several human rights experts from Russia and abroad comment on the unjust actions of Russian authorities and how a ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses would affect not only the Witnesses but also Russia’s international reputation and religious freedom for its citizens.

  • Heiner Bielefeldt: “If Jehovah’s Witnesses are extremist, I think we all are.”

    Former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

  • Richard Clayton, QC: “It’s a shocking example of a bad law being used for a worse purpose.”

    International Human Rights Lawyer and UK Representative on the Venice Commission

  • Dr. Massimo Introvigne: “The only relationship between Jehovah’s Witnesses and violence is that they have been victims of violence.”

    Sociologist and Former Representative of the OSCE on Combating Racism, Xenophobia, Discrimination

  • Annika Hvithamar: ‘If Jehovah’s Witnesses are extremist, then most versions of Christianity could be accused of the same thing.’

    Associate Professor/Head of Studies, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen

  • Lyudmila Alekseyeva: “Not just a mistake—I think it is a crime.”

    Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Member of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights

  • Anatoly Vasilyevich Pchelintsev: “Let’s speak out for Jehovah’s Witnesses!”

    Editor in Chief of the Journal Religion and Law

  • Vladimir Vasilyevich Ryakhovskiy: “It has always started with Jehovah’s Witnesses and then spread to everyone else.”

    Member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights

  • Maksim Shevchenko: “This claim violates fundamental principles of freedom of conscience.”

    President of the Center for Strategic Study of Religions and Politics of the Modern World

  • Dr. Hubert Seiwert: ‘All accusations against Jehovahˊs Witnesses presented at the many court hearings were unfounded.’

    Professor at the Institute of Religious Studies at the University of Leipzig

  • Mercedes Murillo Muñoz: “The State has great confidence in this denomination.”

    Professor of Ecclesiastical Law at the University of King Juan Carlos (Spain)

  • Consuelo Madrigal: “I do not consider [Jehovah’s Witnesses] to be dangerous at all.”

    Lawyer and Former Attorney General of Spain